January 31, 2003

Hydrogen Pipe Dream
If I can step off my USA-right-all-the-time President-Bush-loving soapbox briefly, one thing that he did mention in his SOTU address that did not ring true for me was his initiative to pour more money into the mythical hydrogen-powered car. I have read other articles that pretty well debunk hydrogen as a viable energy source in today's marketplace. This article at NRO helps sum up the facts that I had previously heard.

It can give you a warm fuzzy to think that burning hydrogen, yielding just water and power, will solve all of our environmental problems. For now, a hydrogen "energy" source would cause more problems than it would presumably solve. Here's a taste:

Honda, for example, is leasing five of its FCX fuel-cell vehicles to the city of Los Angeles. It is clearly a PR ploy since the cost to the company for each car is $1.6 million. Honda has also constructed a bank of solar panels in Torrance, California for the purpose of generating "clean" electricity to produce the hydrogen. But it takes a whole week to generate enough power to produce one tank of hydrogen at a cost of $40,000 per tank. Call me crazy, but that's a long way from affordable transportation.

From what I have seen, a hybrid car running on natural gas-electricity may be the best short-term solution for some folks. As long as we keep getting cheap gas (cheaper than subsidized milk!) people will want to drive big vehicles. More power, arr arr arrrgh (that was supposed to be a Tim the Toolman grunt).

Posted by MarcV, 10:11 AM link

It's a New World
Victor Davis Hanson posts them, and I link them. Today he has his take on how the recent "war" environment has changed some relationships between countries and the consequences of these changes. I loved this paragraph, so naturally I'll share it:

It is not just that winners dictate and losers comply, but that even among allies, war and its aftermath often tear away the thin scabs of unity and expose long-festering wounds of real cultural, political, historical, and geographical difference. So it is with this present war against the terrorists and their sponsors, which when it is finally over will leave our world a very different place.

Oh yeah, festering wounds! If you or someone you know starts to wring their hands and worry about our "allies response" with the war against terrorism, print the article out and distribute as needed. This is one of his better efforts, and comes just at the right time before Uncle Sam puts his foot down.

He also states something that I, and probably many others, have wanted to say but didn't quite know how to phrase it: Let's close our off-shore military bases and bring our troops back home! "Personally, I'd rather spend $20 billion to have American workers build an additional 10 to 15 acres of aggregate floating American runways than pour billions annually into countries that either do not like us, resent both the protection and the rent, or are themselves inherently unstable." He doesn't rule out foreign bases (maybe putting one on Poland if they agree), but does spell out guidelines to follow for establishing them.

Reading tip: Cue up some patriotic songs to play in the background while reading the article. Wish I had.

Posted by MarcV, 9:56 AM link


- That Jordan vs. Jordan commercial from the Super Bowl featured Gatorade. This link gives you all of the commercials and movie trailers.

- Due to the underwhelming response in comments for the question from LoTR, I went and asked someone who has read the books. She said that in the book the fair-haired cousin, instead of being banished was actually thrown into a dungeon, and subsequently released after Gandalf cured the King of Rohan. The cousin then joined the King and crew when they went to the stronghold and fought the Orcs there, and not coming at the last minute to save them. She did mention that the book described some distant relatives of the King arriving towards the end of the battle to help dispatch the Orcs.
(I can understand the lack of comments, since YACCS doesn't even show up half the time.)

- The dream I referred to in the "Another Incidence Report" post below was true, and while I may have been joking about dropping the blogging "thang", it has caused more reflection. As I go about the day, is my mind focused on praising God or figuring out my next post? Am I surfing to areas on the Web that are at best time-wasters, at worst dangerous, for the sake of finding that next "juicy" post?
My faith walk has been more like a stumble lately (anyone else notice the lack of "Christian" posts?), and it is difficult to say that the Net is somehow implicated. Our faith is evidenced by the fruit we bear, and it sometimes feels like I'm going through the motions rather than true devotions. Prayer will continue on this, and maybe fasting is needed as well.

To be blessed with so much, and to act so stupidly ... He truly is a God of patience, grace and love.

Posted by MarcV, 8:46 AM link

Isn't it funny (strange/sad) that two of the main news stories are oddly related: the explosion in Kinston, NC caused by rubber dust, and the shoe bomber being sentenced. People don't realize how dangerous that normally safe material can be when it is ground up fine and aloft in the air. If it can burn and the particle size is small enough, you have a potentially explosive situation. It is also amazing that the small amount of explosives that can fit in the sole of a shoe can tear apart an airplane.

Posted by MarcV, 8:44 AM link

Take Two
Today's double shot of funnies from the comedian Argus Hamilton:

Peter O'Toole on Thursday turned down the lifetime achievement Oscar Hollywood was going to give him in March. Thank goodness. His portrayal of a wild-eyed Anglo-Saxon leading camel charges across the Arabian desert hits a little too close to home this year.

The Internal Revenue Service announced Monday it will let American taxpayers file their returns online for free. The system has one technical problem. No one can figure out a way to get the shirts off their backs through the telephone lines. [That is a right-on-amen-brother]

(BONUS: To tide you over for the weekend, another double shot)

Ted Kennedy demanded on the Senate floor Wednesday that the president obtain Senate approval for a war on Iraq. John McCain replied that the Senate already voted its approval in October and the argument is over. It's always embarrassing when somebody has to remind Teddy that he's been sleeping through the debates again.

President Bush scored a huge hit with the public with his State of the Union speech. He looks unbeatable. Terry McAuliffe just promised that a dozen virgins will greet the Democratic nominee in heaven the day after the 2004 presidential election.

(EXTRA SUPER BONUS!! For my Axis of Weevil bloggin' buddies)

Country music group Alabama announced Wednesday that their American Farewell Tour begins in March and ends in November. It upset a lot of people. Trent Lott is still paying a political price for the last time Alabama bid farewell to America. [Sweet Home Alabama!]

Posted by MarcV, 8:25 AM link

January 30, 2003

Getting Native
Just caught the FoxNews post on the National Geographic (NG) swimsuit issue.

"If you look through the magazine, you'll see that there are people in all stages of dress and all kinds of bathing costumes, so it's very much in keeping with the whole cultural history of the world, which is what National Geographic portrays," says editor-in-chief Bill Allen.

Besides, he adds: "We just wanted to have a little fun."

Uh-huh. What's this world coming to when National Geographic feels like they have to compete with Sports Illustrated? We did get NG a year ago, and I did happen (uh-huh) to notice one article that featured a topless beach in Australia (as best as I can recollect). I guess with the world so sex-crazed, the anthropologists at NG feel like they have to get into the act.

Who remembers going to the school library and "selecting" a particular month of NG, knowing that it featured pictures of some "native" tribes? Yeah, that's right teacher, I was studying. Now they have Internet access, with kids trying to figure out ways of getting past the filters in order to download p0rno. Maybe that NG swimsuit thing is not so racy after all? Uh-oh, another sign of societal degradation, where the standards keep getting lower and lower.

Posted by MarcV, 11:34 AM link

Idiotarian Economics
Good article at TechCentralStation explaining economics and how some people try to drag us into a communal society by bashing our current market pricing paradigm. "Economic idiotarians are people who implicitly reject market logic and instead see economic arrangements as an either-or choice between idealistic sharing and evil exploitation." We are teaching our 4 year old about sharing his toys, but sooner or later we will have to get a little more sophisticated in explaining market concepts. He still can't identify his coins, though, but he's pretty close! He knows the names, just isn't consistent on matching the names with the proper coin.

The article gives details on an anthropological model of breaking down interpersonal transactions into 4 relational models: Communal Sharing, Authority Ranking, Equality Matching, Market Pricing.

The idiotarian approach to debating economic policy is to frame an issue as a conflict between Authority Ranking (bad) and Communal Sharing (good). For example, an idiotarian treats drug company profits as evil (as if they resulted from Authority Ranking) and insists that the results of drug research belong in the public domain (to facilitate Communal Sharing). However, as John E. Calfee pointed out recently, when this policy is analyzed from the perspective of Market Pricing, we can see that it reduces research and adds to suffering, particularly in the Third World.

He then goes on in applying these arguments to Internet/digital content transactions, Big Media, tax revenues and tobacco lawsuits. While it makes sense that education would help to stem the tide of economic idiotarianism, he is not so sure:

However, I am not certain that education alone is the answer. I have to believe that Paul Krugman's education in economics was not lacking; nonetheless, his writing often takes an idiotarian tone.

For example, in his opus on income inequality, Krugman wrote, "if the rich get more, that leaves less for everyone else." This is idiotarian rhetoric, in which Krugman treats inequality as if it were the result of Authoritarian Ranking that allows the rich to steal from the Communal Share that properly belongs to "everyone else."

When we take away wealth from "capital generators", we stifle the engine of economic growth. Pres. Bush is on the right track to help the economy with his proposed tax cuts, as long as we can weather the incessant blabber about "tax cuts for the rich". I get the feeling that the "class-warfare" crowd think that there is some Constitutional provision for stopping people from becoming too rich, that it is not fair to everybody else if someone is "hoarding" money. A fair market economy is a very strong factor to maintaining freedom, allowing all boats to rise with the tide of a growing economy.

Posted by MarcV, 9:49 AM link

Old-Time Football
It took me a few days to remember, but I did check Weekly Standard for Larry Miller, and lo and behold he had a post on the Super Bowl. He claims he's not a big fan (he'd rather watch on old movie than a football game) but his wife took the kids so he could have the whole house to himself, because "First, she loves me and really does think that a man should spend the occasional Super Bowl, Super Alone; second, she's just softening me up for a new dishwasher, or a trip around the world."

He takes her up on the offer:

... I've never looked a gift horse in the mouth. (Or any other horse, by the way. They unsettle me, and it's not just horses. Cows, lions, hippos . . . My rule is that all animals whose evacuations are larger than a man's should be avoided. They're frightening; or, at the least, immodest.)

One of those rules of life to add to your collection. He also strongly advocates a return to old-time football (more run plays, QB calls plays, simple TV camera shots) which I would like to see myself, but would never happen. For you former marching band geeks (and you know who you are) he recalls his duty behind a large drum.

Which brings me to a point that I wanted to make before: it would be fine with me if they got rid of all of the "entertainment" rock bands and just had a marching band take the field at halftime. Get a corporate sponsor for the band, made up of contest winners from high school bands across the country, fly them in for a long weekend and perform a few tunes and simple marches.

Anyhowzitz, it's a good article with plenty of potential chuckles. Read and enjoy.

Posted by MarcV, 9:00 AM link

Take Two
Today's double shot of funnies from the comedian Argus Hamilton:

Saddam Hussein vowed Tuesday that Iraq will destroy any U.S. force that dares to invade Iraq. He should watch his mouth. In addition to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, America has one hundred thousand Raider fans no nation wants to face. [Apologies to Raider fans - I know you're hurting, but it was funny]

Teddy Kennedy introduced a bill requiring the president to get congressional approval to attack Iraq. This war could get very nasty. Within the hour, three aircraft carrier groups steaming toward the Suez Canal were diverted to Hyannisport.

Posted by MarcV, 9:00 AM link

January 29, 2003

Another Incidence Report?
A tip of the blogging cap to the Possumblogger, who was kind enough to post on some of my brain squeezins. I give him some hanging curves and he whacks them out of the park! I have another possible incident to report, but I'm afraid this involves psy-ky-atric help.

I don't think I have ever posted on a dream, and usually start to skim over any posts from other bloggers that do, even those from the Bleatmeister. If that's your feeling too, then you may want to skip this post.

Last night I dreamt that I was helping my sister move, and all she had was a roomful of stuff (typical college student load that would fit in the back of a station wagon). So while getting stuff arranged, she tells me that James Lileks is here (to help with the move?), but when I go out to meet him, he's talking on a cell phone. I fight this great urge to interrupt him, let alone make eye contact, and wander around the house. I can hear him talk, and he occasionally changes languages, as if to throw off anyone who might be listening in.

I wander back to the room-to-be-moved, and he is in there with Gnat (Natalie his daughter) who is playing with some toys. She smiles at me, I smile back at her, he gives me a suspicious look but keeps talking on the phone. She wanders off, so I pick up the toys and put them away in another room. At this point I woke up, never getting the chance to meet Lileks.

After considerable horizontal pondering (it was still too early to get up!), the only conclusion I can come up with is that I have no life, that blogging has consumed me. Do I need to put the toys away and wake up?

Well, that's it ... consider this my last post. Hopefully the voices in my head will start quieting down, and I can reclaim a "real" life, whatever that is. Thanks for the blogging fun, but I'm dropping out.

No, really, good bye!

[cue gollum.wav voiceover]
Oh my precious precious we could never leave you. They tried to take you away but we wouldn't let them would we, my treasure. They will never get you again precious precious. Yes, we will keep you forever.

HA, you can't get rid of me that easy! So until the voices in my head take over, and they pry the keyboard from my cold, stiff fingers, posts will keep coming from the Tater Bed known as Spudlets. (That groan you hear is from the rest of the blogosphere.)

Posted by MarcV, 10:33 AM link

Take Two
Today's double shot of funnies from the comedian Argus Hamilton:

Oakland Raider wide receivers Jerry Rice and Tim Brown shocked football fans Monday by announcing they will return next year to play another season. Do you have any idea how old these guys are? There are younger receivers in the RCA Museum.

Colin Powell charged Monday that Saddam Hussein is directly tied to Osama bin Laden. What's gotten into him? The Episcopal bishop of Washington D.C. is expected to demand any day that the White House crowd release Colin Powell for deprogramming.

[Here's a bonus pack, since they were not any good enough to post yesterday.]

The Jerusalem Post said a Palestinian strapped explosives onto a donkey and detonated them by remote control with a cell phone. No one was hurt. It's a sure sign, however, that they never miss an episode of Jackass at Terrorist Training School.

The FAA ruled Monday each passenger must be weighed before boarding commuter flights. The indignities never seem to end. On the other hand, as long as you're taking off your shoes and getting a prostate exam, why not have the entire physical?

Posted by MarcV, 10:32 AM link

SOTU Quick Hits
[This was ready at 8:30 am, but stupid blogger was down! I just found out that everyone else posted on this last night, so this post is ancient history in blog time.]
From what I remember before drifting off in the dozing den:
- Very good speech by the President, but the talking heads were acting as if this was the most important speech of his life. I would have selected the SOTU address from a year ago, where he delivered a home-run, as the most important, but I guess they had to build up the anticipation.

- Why is Hillary sitting just behind the military brass? Oh, so they could turn around and thank her for slamming the military buildup in Kuwait. Maybe she just wanted to get more face time.

- Loved it when the President was slamming trial lawyers for causing the cost of medical care to skyrocket, and the camera panned to John Edwards. It looked like he was fighting the "I just sucked on a lemon" face.
- Also loved it when they showed Daschle's face with the title of Senate Minority leader. Ha-ha!

- Did you notice how quiet and still the Democratic side of the aisle was when the President brought up a ban on partial birth abortion? The Republican side was rocking, so maybe we can see some legislation passed on that.
- Democrats also seemed quiet when the President advocated giving tax money back to the taxpayers and reducing government spending. Good close-up of Pelosi shaking her head, seeming to disagree with the President (what a shock!).

- After announcing his request for $15B for AIDS in Africa, as well as some other initiatives costing big bucks, my wife would say "Where is he getting the money?" I wanted to tell her not to worry, that they can find a little pork to skim off the budget, but who knows.

- Just once I would like to see Pres. Bush turn around to Cheney and Hastert while they are trading clever quips, and just mouth the words "Do you guys mind?"

The media seemed to build up the fact that the President, on his previous SOTU address, kept stressing the need for job creation and full employment, and that things have gotten worse over the last year. Pres. Bush last night centered his domestic agenda again on jobs. It reminded me of that old commercial with Sally Struthers: "Would you like to make more money? Sure, we all do." Even if he gets a slam-dunk on foreign policy and is able to wring out more tax breaks, is his re-election doomed if the jobless rate continues to stink?

The President also did an excellent job explaining our need to liberate Iraq. He used the same arguments and "evidence" that has been brought out for the past year or so, but you still get the story from big media that Joe Sixpack wants hard evidence. Do they need to see a picture of Saddam filling a warhead with anthrax? Or maybe show dozens of missiles in Tikrit ready for a shot of nerve gas? Perhaps a video of an inspector in Baghdad with a geiger counter loudly buzzing?

The justification for liberating Iraq is very sound to me. I can understand people's hesitance due to the potential loss of innocent lives, as well as sending our troops into harm's way. The President has specifically targeted countries that support terrorists and that would pose an immediate threat to the US. Iraq is at the top of the list and must be dealt with as soon as possible. This is new ground we are plowing, and there may be some mistakes made, but continuing with this "diplomat dance" and not doing anything would be disastrous in the long run, whether we have all of our allies supporting us or we have to go it alone.

Posted by MarcV, 10:27 AM link

January 28, 2003

Un-Affirmative Diversity
Did anyone else have a hard time with their local Sunday paper slamming the President in the editorial section? I won't even give a link here due to a sense of disgust. I get the sense that liberals/Dems are starting to panic and are going for the jugular, now that the Senate is out of their control. The whining over affirmative action in college admissions and the proposed tax cuts gets very frustrating when the same tired "arguments" are used: class warfare, Pres. Bush was born with silver spoon in his mouth, he's only helping his rich friends, it's OK to discriminate as long as it's the white majority that suffers.

It was so bad that I wrote two letters to the editor, giving them a choice. I listed them both below. Public Pulse is where they have a panel of eight "regular folks" giving their opinions on the topic of the day:

It is difficult to believe that the Public Pulse (1/26/03) on considering race as a factor for college admission represents the actual public mood. Out of eight panelists, seven said race should be a factor, while one seemed to be against it but joked throughout the answer. Three panelists mentioned the "D" word: diversity.

The elevation of diversity over fairness/justice will weaken the US over time. Diversity in this light is a synonym for division and selfishness. Let's set the standard high for excellence. If minorities have a problem competing for college admissions, we should address the root cause, rather than watering down our nation's resource of excellence in college education.

Let us strive to be color-blind and judge on content of character. Each state, and not the federal govenment, should be actively involved in improving the primary and secondary schools that are not serving their communities. States that cannot take care of business will suffer the consequences.

There was not too much encouragement for Pres. Bush in Sunday's (1/26/03) Ideas section. First, you set up straw men against his opposition to the University of Michigan's affirmative action policy. You followed this with a Public Pulse that seems to be very much out of step with actual public opinion, but agreed with your editorial. Ed Cone picks up your class-warfare alarm with enough hand-waving to cause a wind-chill alert, with Maureen Dowd and William Raspberry chipping in. Is that diversity or what?

The US is running a deficit due in part to former Pres. Clinton's decimation of defense spending, resulting now in a double dip increase in military rebuilding and preparing for action half a world away. Instead of cutting spending on domestic programs, Senate Democrats wanted to add to the pork and cried for more tax money. Pres. Bush's proposed tax cuts are intended to ameliorate old injustices: double taxation of dividends, marriage penalty, reduction of unfair "progressive" rates.

Would a flat-tax be fair? Definitely, but you would be hard pressed to find a liberal to touch that. Let's give the tax money back to the taxpayers, rather than encourage more big government pork barrel spending. This is a far more effective boost to the economy than federal spending.

Let's support our President as he performs his Constitutional duty of defending our country, by holding countries that support terrorism responsible for their actions.

They will occasionally print letters that slam them, but I'm not sure they will take these on - we'll wait and see.

Posted by MarcV, 10:51 AM link

Quick review on LOTR: it was OK, not as good as expected nor as good as the first one. There was one point that did not make sense to me, so maybe a Tolkein "expert" could clear this up:

At the Rohan castle, the black-haired bad guy(BHBG) speaks for the king and banishes the fair-haired cousin(FHC) from the kingdom [can you tell I'm not good with names?]. The BHBG is not liked by anybody (and is not even a native?), but the palace guard follow his orders, even though the king can only mumble. FHC takes 3000 men with him and ride off to the North. When the king gets his senses back and they have to evacuate to the "stronghold", he only has a couple of hundred men (palace guard, farmers, stable boys) to fight the legion of Orcs.
My question: why didn't FHC stage a coup and kick out/kill BHBG? Maybe they would have killed a few palace guards, but once the others saw they were outnumbered 10:1, they would have let FHC take over. Gandalf still could have come in and cured the king. I guess you would not have the last minute rescue by FHC and his 3000 horsemen at the stronghold if he had taken over the kingdom, but it still doesn't make sense to me.

I enjoyed the first film more for its scenery, changes of pace and overall sense of fantasy. The second film felt bogged down with politics, long (not believable) fight scenes, and too much Gollum. The Orcs are big and strong, decked out in armor, yet Aragorn and the Dwarf King kill them easy as pie. Oh, let's just jump into the middle of them, they won't hurt us!
The date out, not even including dinner, ran about $40. Not that it should justify my critical attitude, but I could have gotten both LOTR DVD's for that money.

Posted by MarcV, 10:43 AM link

Frum's The Right Man
Finished the book last weekend, and it's a pretty good read. At first he seems to go out of his way to justify taking the speechwriting job for the administration. After the Senate Democrats torpedoed the President's domestic agenda, Mr. Frum felt like there was not much left for him to do, and he had targeted (at the end of August 2001) mid-September as a time to decide whether he would resign or not.

Events on September 11 caused him to stay much longer, and I appreciated an insider view of what the White House went through after that date. After a brief honeymoon period of Democratic support, Daschle and crew sharpened their knives, played politics and started to cut up President Bush's domestic plans. Rather than fight back and use some of their political tactics, Pres. Bush conceded domestic plans to focus on war plans.

So Mr. Frum again found himself without much to do, and the second time around was enough, where he eventually decided to resign. The press was so hungry to unearth any dissension in the White House that they floated the story of Pres. Bush firing Mr. Frum. Even after retractions by the original source and denials from both the White House and Mr. Frum, the story stayed hot for several weeks after he left.

In spite of some of the things he did not agree with, Mr. Frum strongly feels that Pres. Bush is the right man for a time such as this. His description of Pres. Bush's character helped confirm to me that God placed the right man in charge. The fact that he is Jewish gave his book a different and interesting viewpoint.

He has an excerpt posted on Pres. Bush's stance on Israel. Again, it is good to see a viewpoint from someone who is not Christian explain the President's viewpoint. Pres. Bush seemed to have bent over backwards to accomodate the Palestinians, but once Arafat crossed him and went over the line (losing his trust), the President was firm in cutting him off. I hope other "moderate" leaders that seek US help will learn from that lesson.

Posted by MarcV, 10:21 AM link

Super Bowl Addendum
I unearthed my notes from Sunday night (yesterday's post was done from memory - not bad for a tired old brain), so this should be it for the season:

- When Shaq smiles and winks at you, does that make you want to buy something from Radio Shack, or do you just want to get the heck out of there?
- That review of the (no) fumble at the beginning of the game showcased the problems with "play review". It was an obvious call, but the refs did not want to make it, knowing they could always review and reverse it if necessary. Well, at least it gave us time to take a break without missing commercials or the game.
When the Raiders receiver was pushed out on a 2 pt. conversion, that showed an instance when the review would have corrected a bad call of a ref who was out of position, but they didn't. Scrap it all, let the game go and flow and live with the "human element", just like all of the other professional sports (except for the NBA end-of-game buzzer).
- I found out Monday night that the Jordan one-on-one commercial had been shown before (probably on cable stations that I don't get), so I feel kinda dumb and ignorant, not that that is anything new. Maybe they'll show it on network TV so I can see the commercial again.
- Peter King agreed with me on the questionable choice of bands for the half-time show (they should be able to find more current acts).
- Who dressed Shania Twain? If her musical career starts to slow down, she can always sub for Elvira, just slap a little more make-up on her.
- Anyone going to miss that guy spouting off about "old-time" football, putting a ruler at a goal line, and something about Joe Namath? Hard to believe the NFL paid money for that.

Posted by MarcV, 8:25 AM link

Take Two
Today's double shot of funnies from the comedian Argus Hamilton:

Senator Byron Dorgan slipped $1 million into the federal budget to help fix traffic jams in North Dakota. It's a real problem. When the terrorists driving down from Canada to enroll in flight schools are met by the Americans driving up to Canada for cheap prescription drugs, it's simply more than a dirt road can handle.

Saudi Arabian officials admitted Sunday that they give Rolex watches to Western reporters. They denied that it's a bribe for favorable coverage of pet Arab causes. It's merely a coincidence that Yasser Arafat just won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Short.

Posted by MarcV, 8:23 AM link

January 27, 2003

Super SuperBowl Wrap-up
My prediction for the game was right to a point: the Bucs did run out to an early lead, they did try to grind it out and the Raider's made a comeback. Tampa was so far ahead, though, that Oakland mistakes prevented any hope of a Raider victory. I still can't believe the bone-headed decision by Callahan to keep going for two point conversions starting in the third quarter. The review below is in three sections:

The Game
The most surprising result of the game was that Tampa controlled the trenches. They were able to run and give Brad Johnson time to pass, and the Buc defensive line stuffed the run and was in Rich Gannon's face most of the game. I think the Raiders abandoned the run a little early, but it can be tough to run when the D puts 8 guys up front. If the Raiders had been able to establish the run and use their size to their advantage, it would have kept the Buc offense off of the field. The Raiders were unsuccessful at establishing a deep threat, stretching out the field and keeping the secondary honest.
Otherwise, not many predicted Johnson would outplay Gannon. Mr. MVP turned what could have been a close game into a rout by throwing three picks that were returned for TD's. Like Philadelphia, Oakland failed to utilize the QB rollout to negate the Buc's pass rush. By sprinting out, you can buy more time for your receivers to run deep routes and change the passing lanes that the zone defense is trying to break up. You also freeze the linebackers and give yourself an option of running out of bounds if nothing else is available.
A tip of the helmet to the Bucs as champions (as I type with gritted teeth), who came to play and maintained championship intensity throughout the game. They can be had (even the Bears played them close) and will be tested next season, but for a year they will sit on the throne. They should probably ask the Patriots how wobbly that throne is!

The Ads
I caught most of the ads, but missed a few after the halftime show and at the end of the game. ABC did a good job promoting their shows using SuperBowl-themed skits. Sierra Mist was the best at combining humor and brand recognition, reinforcing the brand name at the end of each commercial.
The best ad was for Budweiser, where the draft horses had to endure instant replay on the frozen tundra. The zebra butt sticking out of the replay booth was flat-out funny. A close second goes to the young Jordan - old Jordan one-on-one game. As you're watching it, you're trying to figure out how they did it so seamlessly and realistically, and at the same time remembering back to a time when Jordan truly was king of the hardwood. Bringing him out with his Tarheel uniform was great, as well as the trash-talking. It was the type of commercial that you wish they would show over again (TiVo users could if they wanted!), but it may be one of those that is only shown once. The main problem: I don't recall who placed the ad - no name recognition!
Speaking of his Airness, Yao Ming will be making Jordan-like money by next year, particularly as he gets more comfortable with the English language. 7 ft. 6 in., charisma, a warm smile and an NBA game that is bound to get better - now that's potential! Not only will he make a ton of money here, but will make a killing in the Asian market. Wonder if he is selling stock in YaoMing, Inc.?
Finally, my vote for worst ad goes to Levi's head-scratcher with the buffalo stampeding down some city streets. What was up with that - was that supposed to be "arty" or something? No wonder they are losing market share.
New movies being hyped: "Hulk" looked interesting, "Daredevil" not considering Mr. JLo as the lead, Terminator 3 - one too many, Nicholson/Sandler the next Martin/Lewis (?) - yeah right. New Honda, butt-ugly. New Chrysler, looked good despite that Dion woman airing out her tonsils.

The Other Stuff
ABC was above average with interviews and pre-game hoopla, even if we had to suffer with Madden/McMichaels during the game. Billick and Young announcing the game would have been interesting. Strahan could have stayed home and nobody would have noticed him missing.
Did anyone else catch the interview with Santana and Celine Dion? [Don't get me started about having her sing "God Bless America" - ARRGH.] I'm surprised they didn't give Celine some kleenex to wipe off all the brown-nosing. The real highlight was hearing Santana say how proud he was to represent the barrio and ghetto by his appearance. HUNNH!!! The interviewer (Robin Roberts) complained that some of the other entertainers (Dixie Chicks, Sting, Bon Jovi) were supposed to be there but were running behind. Sounded like they made a wise career move by missing that interview.
The halftime concert was OK. Was it just me, or did that lead singer for No Doubt say "Hey Gramps" to Sting when she first walked by him on stage? It says alot about the current sad state of pop music, when they count on No Doubt (a good band that has been cranking it out for over ten years) and Sting (fossil) rather than a hot, new band. The record industry complains about low sales due to CD-burning, but the new stuff they're promoting is not worth buying. Well, at least we didn't have to be embarrassed and lunge for the remote control, like when Ms. Spears showed up "near-nekkid".

So it is with sad heart that another NFL season is assigned to the vault, and six months of off-season must somehow be endured again. While the draft stuff and spring workouts are "diversionary", the season does not officially start until Bear training camp begins. So until then, Spudlets will have to find something else to post about! (Cue Frank Sinatra .wav file: The Party's Over)

Posted by MarcV, 9:33 AM link

January 24, 2003

After many weeks of patient waiting, we came up with the scratch and we're now able to pay off a baby-sitter for 4 hours of LOTR (not to mention the tickets and popcorn). We won't have the dinner and date, but that's OK. We may not be the last to see it, but the line is right short behind us! A short review of this, as well as a post on Frum's new book The Right Man to look forward to next week! Not to mention the final wrap-up of the final football game (sniff) of the season - so y'all come back, same spud time same spud website.

Posted by MarcV, 4:12 PM link

Here's another treasure I found today: a Christian blogging while visiting Saudi Arabia. His posts from the last few days are OK, but if you have the time, scroll down to about Jan. 3 and read up from there. He has some good on-the-spot insights on Arab customs and how their society and the US compares. I'm putting him on my daily read list, and may give him a permanent link later if he continues to put up good posts. I'm still trying to figure out the name "passnhuck" - think I'll ask him!

Posted by MarcV, 10:23 AM link

Victor Davis Hanson posts them, and I link them. Yesterday's was a short one on some advice for the President on his upcoming SOTU. If you don't know what that acronym stands for, then click on the link and find out. Click on it even if you do for some good advice on the Iraqi situation.

[Update: He has another post up today, a response to the peace protestors. He has a question about the Arab street:

If the United States — albeit sometimes belatedly — is committed to remove fascists like those in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is increasingly pressuring the Saudis, Kuwaitis, and the Egyptians to initiate domestic reforms, will the Arab street evolve in its thinking or instead demonstrate for no future elections in Riyadh, more torture in Baghdad, and the status quo in Cairo? If $3 billion of annual aid to Egypt, Jordan, and Palestine, help for Kosovars, Somalis, Kuwaitis, and Afghans, and open American borders for immigrants from the Middle East earn us such hostility, then what would the opposite policies do? And should we find out?

What is our $3 billion buying us?]

Posted by MarcV, 9:56 AM link

Advice for He-Man Types
During a recent session of blog-trolling (clicking on one of the random ten blogs listed to the left side on the blogger.com screen) I found this ordinary blog by a 20-something lady. She describes what women really want, and can help remind us he-man love machines how to treat the special lady in our lives (3 weeks to Valentines Day!):

Stupid happy.

Winston continues to rock my world with the unexpected. Sometimes I just wish my friends/family could be a fly on the wall to witness those moments where he demonstrates his true feelings for me... they're incredible. It's one thing to watch us be silly and cute/disgusting in public where we kiss and hold hands and giggle, there you might look at us and chalk it up as "puppy love" or "infatuation", but when it's just he and I... I've had some beautiful romances in my life, but nothing compares to being looked at with hearts-in-eyes and being told you're beautiful right when you're in the middle of doing something ordinary. Like a good boyfriend, he tells me I'm beautiful throughout the day--in the morning, before we go to bed, when I try to look especially nice, the first time he sees me after a separation, etc--but nothing beats those unexpected moments where I'm grouching about something, wearing sweats, no makeup, have a hat on my head, and a scarf wrapped around half of my face...and he grins at me and tells me he loves me, and/or tells me I'm beautiful. When that happens, all I can do is throw back my head and roar with laughter before pulling him to me and kissing him with all the passion that statement inspires in me. He's completely attentive and focused on me even at those times where I feel at my worst. It takes a big heart full of warm feelings to tell a girl in such a state that she looks good. ^_~

We have such an amazing relationship and I am so happy. Incredibly so. I am less afraid of failure now because both our feeling for each other and our friendship has matured so much from where we started. He made me a promise this weekend...and... damnit, I love him. My heart *hurts* with how much it has swollen.

While you could see that they are in the initial "crush" phase of their relationship, we can still glean something useful: treat your sweetie right, and she'll reward you with happiness. It helps for an old married man like me to remember to act a little "puppy-lovish" sometimes, 'cause the "honey" loves it, and when Mama's happy everyone else is happy.

Posted by MarcV, 9:32 AM link

Stupor Bowl Predictions
With no home team to pick, the Pirate Parade would seem to be wide open. I like Tampa Bay's chances at stopping Oakland, but the Raiders have some prime-time talent and could break open the game early. The Bucs defense seems to have a better chance of putting points on the board than the Raiders defense, but the Bucs offense is not very strong (slow receivers and QB, average blocking). Brad Johnson is on a roll, but if he gets dinged a few times, he may cough it up like Pennington did a few weeks ago.

This is saddest time of the NFL season for me. It finally hits me that my beloved Bears are really out of it, the anti-climactic Super Bowl is nearly upon us, and we are staring at six months of off-season until footballs start cutting through the air. Did I depress anyone else? And for you Bear fan(s) out there, just to depress you even more, Angelo is supposedly seriously pursuing King from the Bucs - yikes!! We might as well give up some draft picks for Jeff George while we're at it.

Oh yeah, prediction time: Bucs pull out to an early lead, try to grind it out with Alstott, he coughs it up, Raiders come from behind to win by 2 (OAK 26 - TB 24), and my favorite commercial will feature a chimp playing with a garage band. Ooops, that was 2 years ago, but it's still my favorite. It is interesting how the Super Bowl may be the only television event that people break (potty, food, etc.) from watching during the event yet stay for the commercials.

Posted by MarcV, 8:48 AM link

Take Two
Today's double shot of funnies from the comedian Argus Hamilton:

Jimmy Carter flew to Venezuela Tuesday to try to end its 51-day-old general strike. The country is besieged by economic chaos and an oil shortage and the president is hugely unpopular. It sounds like scientists in South America have successfully cloned the Carter Presidency.

The White House ordered government bureaucrats Wednesday to start planning for a post-invasion Iraq. They are to devise new ways to improve Iraq's schools, hospitals and roads. Until now the only known way to improve schools, hospitals and roads was to name them after Senator Robert Byrd.

Posted by MarcV, 8:47 AM link

January 23, 2003

Living in Minus
Good article over at TechCentralStation on the Israeli economy, and some ruminations on the US as well. Loved to hear him advocate ending US corporate taxes, but that might get some liberal underwear tied up in a bunch. How far should we go to promote full employment? Sounds like a post for the Econ. "perfessor" Dr. Byron.

The author did bring up an observation from a recent visit to Israel (he had not visited there since 1980), noticing the multitude of foreign workers:

To me, the most striking difference had to be the large numbers of Asians and Africans everywhere we went. On one ride in a fifteen-passenger mini-bus from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem, all of the rest of the passengers were Asians. The Asians and Africans are pouring into Israel as guest workers.

Israel has the same problem in the US: not enough native people willing to work at low wage jobs, so "guest" workers fill the need. Interesting how the estimated hundreds of thousands Africans and Asians (Filipinos?) have braved the suicide bombers to scratch out a living in the desert. How many jobs and opportunities have the Palestinians lost by continuing their Intifada with Israel?

They are at the point where travel is so severely limited that employers can't take the chance of hiring them, not knowing if they will be able to show up the next day (let alone the mistrust of hiring a Palestinian). History has shown that the Palestinians have not been able to "fend for themselves", needing the jobs that Israel offered them, or now the handouts from Europe and some of the Arab countries.

Israel has been ready to offer a Palestinian homeland for peace and stability, but end up getting their hands bit/blown off, and they are running out of hands.

While I'm on an econ "thang", TCS has another goodie, this time on the dividend tax cut. The author brings you in with this tidbit:
... he (Bush) called for seismic shift in tax policy, ending the double taxation of dividends, and cutting the top tax rates. He has unapologetically taken on the class warriors and prepared for the rhetorical battle to come. Democrats were shocked by the audacity of the Bush Plan. They expected a watered-down version of dividend tax relief.
... As key Democrats elbowed each other for the presidential spotlight, and the rest of the caucus remained divided on military action, homeland security, and universal healthcare, Bush gave them a unifying issue they could all stand against. For the first time in a long time, Democrats all agree with each other about something.

He then went on to say that the dividend tax cut is the first domino in a line of proposals: Social Security/Medicare reform, tort reform. We'll see how much "class warfare" the Dems want to engage, and if it comes around to bite them in the keister (spelling?) again. I hope President Bush is successful in toppling the dominos that the Democrats have been trying to keep propped up.

Posted by MarcV, 12:17 PM link

We got about 2" of snow overnight, and the schools decided to close for today. Getting into work was slow but not too bad this morning. Some of the folks decided to call in, so things are a little slow here. This snow will be a little different than what we usually experience here in the Carolina Piedmont area. The temperature will stay in the mid-20's, then drop to about 10 tonight, so the snow and most of the roads will stay dry with compacted snow. The coast (i.e. Wilmington) was forecast for 8" of snow (still snowing as I'm typing), so I'm sure they're in "lock-down" now.

The last few winters have rarely yielded temperatures below 25, so tonight should be interesting. I hope we can pay for our gas bill over a few installments, 'cause it's gonna be a killer.

Posted by MarcV, 11:08 AM link

January 22, 2003

The past few days I have given links for a post by Tony Woodlief, an article by Peggy Noonan and from WorldNetDaily concerning abortion. The "Gil Thorp" comic strip [link requires registration] that runs in many sports sections has also been on the abortion trail. Coach Thorp is trying to help the girlfriend of one of his players choose to keep the baby. This comic strip has been much more "socially aware" over the last ten or so years.

Posted by MarcV, 4:08 PM link

Pay UP!
The RIAA got a federal court to agree to its interpretation of the DMCA (copyright act), and is now starting to take steps for shaking down ISP's.

The Recording Industry Association of America wants to go after the companies that provide you with your Internet access. Here are some of the printable reactions since RIAA chief Hilary Rosen presented the proposal last weekend, during which she said Internet service providers would soon "be held accountable" for money the music industry has lost due to file-swapping services: It's stupid. Unethical. Illegal. Insane.

"Blaming ISPs for giving these hardened criminals the bandwidth for perpetrating their heinous file-sharing acts is akin to blaming the highway department for creating roads that are used by dope smugglers," said security consultant Robert Ferrell. "It just doesn't make sense."

Sense or nonsense, Rosen said during her keynote address at the Midem music conference in France that ISPs should pay a fee to the music industry to compensate for those losses. ISPs could then pass the cost along to their song-swapping customers.

Who did they go after in this landmark case?

The RIAA scored a big win against an ISP on Tuesday, when a federal judge ruled that Verizon Communications must turn over the name of a Verizon Internet subscriber who allegedly downloaded 600 songs through file-trading network Kazaa in one day

That's about 60 CD's worth of songs, a fairly average collection. Verizon is planning an appeal, so this may get kicked up to the Supreme Court. This reminds me of the "tax" applied to CD-R's designed for music recording, where the fee is supposed to go back to those poor beleagured record companies.

She said that collecting fees was fair because ISPs are profiting from the high demand for broadband connections and, she claims, many customers sign up for specifically so that they can easily and quickly pirate music files. But even the unpopular-among-geeks Digital Millennium Copyright Act states that ISPs cannot be held liable for the data that passes over their network.

The greed and the extent that these people will go are mind-boggling. You're guilty for having broadband, because we know that all you will do is download music. This would obviously get to the point of forcing ISP's to evaluate each file transmitted, since anyone could change the extension name on a file from mp3 to whatever, then change it back once the file download is complete. Any guesses on how much storage space would be needed, let alone the manpower/programs, to store and evaluate every transmitted file - can you say terabytes?

Over the weekend PBS broadcasted a good review, "NOW" with Bill Moyers, on the DMCA and copyright law (here is a timeline for copyright law in the US, as well as a link for the transcript of the show). WARNING - Parts of the show may be difficult to watch since they interviewed Patsy Schroeder, the retired Congresswoman who is now a paid shill for the record companies. Just when you thought (hoped!) she was gone they drag her back in.

Posted by MarcV, 8:59 AM link

An earthquake of about 7.8 magnitude hit Mexico. The quake was centered near Colima. The standard news sites that I checked did not show a map of the area hit, although the effects were felt in Mexico City. Here is the best map that I could find, so you can get a better feel on the area affected. Look for Colima by going directly west from Mexico City, towards the Pacific, but short of Manzanillo on the coast. Thankfully it was not any closer to Mexico City, where a strong quake could bring the death toll to many-thousands.

Posted by MarcV, 8:10 AM link

Take Two
Today's double shot of funnies from the comedian Argus Hamilton:

The Dixie Chicks will sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. The trio is trying to cross over from country. On the advice of Trent Lott, they're changing the name of the group to Three White Chicks Who are Terribly Sorry about Everything.

Robert Redford addressed reporters at his Sundance Film Festival Sunday. He questioned the White House Iraq policy but he refused to come out against a war. Courage is the first thing that goes out the window when you are paid by the ticket. [Money talks and you-know-what walks]

Posted by MarcV, 8:09 AM link

January 21, 2003

The past few days I have given links for a post by Tony Woodlief and an article by Peggy Noonan concerning abortion. Going through the comments at Tony's site, someone had left a link on a story from WorldNetDaily about a grisly abortion story. I'll link it, even though it may disgust and shock you after reading it. How can murder be a "choice"?

Also from WorldNetDaily is a good summation of the George Clooney oral crapulence that recently spewed out. The article ends by noting that his latest directorial project was "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind". Maybe his next project should be "Confessions of a Deluded Mind". Here's a beauty from him that almost matches the Sheryl Crowe squawk: "Are we going to try and talk [to Saddam Hussein] without jumping in and killing people first?" Hey, thanks for reminding us to negotiate - we just plumb forgot about it [hand slapping forehead sound]!

I just watched "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" again last night, and did not enjoy it as much as my first viewing, simply because it bothered me to see him on my monitor. Has anyone else noticed this effect with some of the other Hollyweird "luminaries" who spout off about politics as if they know something? Yeah yeah, it's a free country, but would someone take the microphones away from them when they start ad-"lipping"! It may be time to start voting with my wallet, but it could get to the point where the only movies in the house would be VeggieTales, Bible Man and Blues Clues (you know what to do - sit down in your thinking chair and think think thiiiinnnk).

Posted by MarcV, 1:50 PM link

Epochal Times
Each of us would like to think that the time we live in is extra-special, that we are somehow shaping very important times affecting the future for centuries (or at least decades) to come. While each "age" adds to the social fabric, knowledge, and (hopefully) wealth of future generations, I propose that two "revolutions" have had the most impact on this country (and subsequently the rest of the world). The first is the "Pre-Industrial" era from the 1820's to 1860. The second is the "Digital" era from the 1960's to now. The table below sums up the highlights from each era.

By the 1820's, the US had gained the experience and time to figure out the roles of federal and state governments, exploring, settling and establishing the states up to the Mississippi river. The land was rich with natural resources to be tapped (some would say exploited), and European markets were purchasing this output. The US economy was still largely agrarian-based, but the Pre-Industrial revolution started to put into place the ingredients necessary to ignite the Industrial revolution.

Farms were able to significantly increase their outputs to supply large urban centers, along with the transportation networks needed to bring food (and other commodities) to cities, and the education of a middle class was made possible by the proliferation of books and newspapers. Finally, the key to emerging from an agrarian-based economy was the switch from land-based to capital-based wealth.

Competitors to the US were either still mired in aristocratic control or shaking off the effects of revolution (like France). The US had a clean slate, with respect to government, and a wealth of resources. By unlocking the potential of people via freedom, and rewarding risk-taking monetarily, the US was able to grow and prosper unlike any other country in the world. Slavery was the last vestige of colonialism holding back the country, where a rich plantation owner had the potential of cornering present and future markets by taking advantage of an extremely cheap labor source.

Until the mid-1800's, plantation owners were making plenty of money primarily by supplying cotton to England. With the start of westward expansion, Democrats allied with Southern interests pushed for the newly established states, such as Kansas, to be allowed to decide for themselves if slavery would be permitted. Northern states saw the future of their emerging wage-labor class and industrialization threatened, and started the wheels turning towards what inevitably became the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln lived during this time and wanted the US to be the land of opportunity. He saw that slavery would block that eventually. He hoped that the states could negotiate peacefully and stop the further spread of slavery, and that slavery in the South would eventually "wither" away. With Lincoln's election, the South saw their way of life challenged and went to war over it. It amazes me how the US could emerge from the mass destruction, chaos and bumbling "Reconstruction" after the Civil War, and rise to world power just 50-odd years afterward. The foundation established during the Pre-Industrial era made this possible.

The Digital revolution now is centered on the ascendancy of computers. Who would have thought in 1975 that 25 years later many people would work with and own personal computers? Us "older folk" can remember the days of having to bear down on your pen, because the forms you filled out were in triplicate (sometimes "five-plicate"!). Now you just tab (or click) and type. Ask a kid for carbon paper today, and they might wonder if you are talking about some new life-form.

Perhaps we will need to look back at the past thirty years in about a hundred years from now, in order to get a better perspective on how "revolutionary" this era is. By utilizing computational techniques, the biological sciences have made huge leaps in diagnostics and "fabrication". The past few months we have been "teased" by reports of cloning a human, and one will probably be made in the next year. I'm not sure where cloning will lead us, but anytime man tries to play God the results are disastrous.

The events of the mid-1800's came to a head and spawned the Civil War. Events of the past decade have also come to a head: a struggling culture (Muslim) challenges the supremacy of the Western (Christian) culture. Where the South's bank accounts were supplied by a flow of cotton, the Muslim bank accounts are enriched by world oil demand. Utilizing the Digital revolution has been a factor in making us the superpower in the world, and it remains to be seen how the US will wield its power.

Well, that was an atypically large tuber from the tater bed. I am setting up an argument based on this and a post from last week -- The Right Man at the Right Time (just scroll down a bit) -- to propose a theory on why we are in the place we are at now and possibilities for the future.

Proliferation of newspapers and next day delivery, availability of books/publishing explosion, telegraph service INFORMATION Satellite transmission, conversion of analog paper information to digital screen images, DARPAnet - to Internet/World Wide Web
Application of technology to intensive farming, marketing of products to distant cities/countries, mechanized planting, tilling, harvesting AGRICULTURE World markets exploited, improved weather forecasting, genetically modified crops, manipulation of pest-disease resistant hybrids
Canals built, start of railroads, steam-driven boats allow larger loads and quicker delivery TRANSPORTATION Air travel for the masses, limited space travel, virtual vacations (via Internet)
Steam-driven machinery, move away from agriculture to mineral-based economy, standardization MANUFACTURING Just-in-time, application of databases for decision making, programmable logical controllers
Settlement of western territories, establishment of transportation trails over Rocky Mountain range, mapping of country EXPLORATION DNA mapping, satellite imagery, ocean floor mapping, synthetic pharmaceuticals, manufactured materials, development of new energy sources

Posted by MarcV, 1:46 PM link

The Right Man cont'd.
Sometimes the Lord smiles down on this wretched sinning Spud and continues to bless him. Saturday, whilst at the library with family in tow (in between a garbage run and lunch), I spied a book on display that caught my attention. It turned out that the librarian had just put out David Frum's The Right Man (his account of the first year of the Bush term) for display, and I happened to be in the right place at the right time. She told me that I was the first one to check it out, and that she had been tempted to take it for herself. I had heard about the book and was interested in it. Being able to borrow it from the library rather than shell out twenty bucks greatly pleased my miserly nature.

I was just finishing the book on Abraham Lincoln last Sunday, so I have only had a chance to read the first chapter of Frum's book. It is nearly double spaced, couple hundred pages without big words, so it should be a fairly easy read. He described his first visit to the White House, where he interviewed for a speechwriter position. He flat out told them that he was not a big fan of Pres. Bush (but is a conservative), that he had only written speeches for himself, and they knew that he had written articles critical of Bush, yet they still pursued him.

He had other reservations about the job, but Frum was drawn like many others, with the allure of being at the center of power. The first words he heard from the President is "Missed you at Bible study today", said to the man interviewing Frum. Frum also stated at the beginning that he was a "non-Christian", but ended the chapter by saying that it wouldn't hurt to learn more about the Bible.

Similar to my curiousity with Lincoln, I am curious to know why George W. Bush pursued the Presidency. He does not seem to fit the mold, not that one could define a single "mold" as presidential. He loves his family, yet puts them through the media wringer. He has a checkered past, but decided to rise above it seeking the highest office in the land. He also seems to be a religious man, yet took the job knowing the "shots" he would take about his faith as well as having to deal with some of the most greedy and power-mad people in the world (we call them politicians).

No, not all politicians are like that, thank God, but there's a few that you check for your wallet and watch after you shake hands with them. I do believe that we get the leaders that we deserve, and hope that we can hold our government leaders more accountable for their actions, and foster an environment where government leaders can take effective steps for the good of the whole into the future, rather than short term gains for a select few. More to come on the book in future posts.

Posted by MarcV, 9:04 AM link

Take Two
Today's double shot of funnies from the comedian Argus Hamilton:

The NBA just opened a website in China so Yao Ming fans can buy licensed NBA merchandise online. The league is in for a surprise. The people of China are not going to pay more than five cents to wear something they were paid three cents to sew.

The White House prepared for war with Iraq Friday after U.N. inspectors found a dozen empty shells in a depot. The empty warheads are very suspicious. If you place your ear right up next to the shells, you can hear North Korea proliferating.

Posted by MarcV, 9:04 AM link

January 20, 2003

The Democrats Tie-Down
For those who haven't heard, Miss Peggy (Noonan) at OpinionJournal has moved to Monday, giving her the weekend to cogitate on her thought-of-the-week. She has a pretty good one posted today on abortion, and gives a good argument that the Democrats may sink under this "murderous" burden:

Democratic officeholders either agree with and fear the clout of the abortion-rights groups or disagree with and fear them. So the pro-abortion forces keep the party together, but they also tie it down. They keep the Democratic Party on the defensive--the lockstep pro-abortion party that won't even back parental notification, the party of unbending orthodoxy that will fight tooth and nail against banning abortions on babies eight months old, babies who look and seem and act exactly like human beings because they are.

Posted by MarcV, 10:22 AM link

Playoff Wrap-up
Based on my predictions for last weekend, it is no wonder I didn't win the Prognosticator's Pool! Tampa Bay smacked an ugly stick upside the Eagle's heads, and the Bucs almost made it look easy. They had a few more big plays than Philly, particularly that 14 point turnaround, when Barber intercepted deep in Bucs territory as Philly was making a last gasp comeback. I still can't believe they didn't call more plays for McNabb to roll out to the strong side of the field and utilize his run/pass strengths. The Philly defense played well enough to win, but the offense could not find a way around the brick wall.

My prediction for TB vs. PHI should have been written under the Oakland game, because that is what basically happened: hard fought first half, Raiders capitalize on a few Titan mistakes then run away with it in the second half. The Tennessee defense just did not have enough to cover Oakland's passing game, and the Raiders won the war in the trenches. Think they'll need extra riot police in San Diego this weekend with the "Raider Nation" rolling into town?

As much as I dislike Tampa Bay, I'll have to go with them in the big dance. Their defense will rise to the challenge of stopping the Raider passing attack, and the Bucs offense will use ball control to keep Gannon off of the field. The primary edge for the Bucs will be Coach Gruden, since he will have much more knowledge of the Raider team as opposed to Coach Callahan and crew's knowledge of the Bucs, considering the short week to prepare (the week is shortened with Super Bowl hoopla). The way my predicting has gone, though, you probably should put your money with the Raiders!

Posted by MarcV, 8:14 AM link

Take Two
Today's double shot of funnies from the comedian Argus Hamilton:

China aired the L.A. Lakers game against the Houston Rockets Friday. Capitalism has triumphed. Two hundred million people tuned in to watch Yao Ming and all they will remember is two women mud wrestling in their underwear over a Miller Lite.

Senator Robert Byrd blasted President Bush for giving the U.S. the image of a belligerent bully. This says a lot. Perhaps it's time to rethink things when the only former Ku Klux Klansman in the Senate says we're being needlessly hostile.[When can the Byrd go home to roost? A national embarrassment.]

Posted by MarcV, 8:13 AM link

January 17, 2003

Tony Woodlief does it again, and writes another moving post, this time on abortion. It hurts my heart to think of one, let alone 1.3 million, baby lost to us. He explains it much better than I could, so go read and be blessed.

Posted by MarcV, 2:09 PM link

Site tidy-up: Had to drop Girl on the Right since she has gone off the blogosphere. In order to help balance all of the testosterone-laden blogs, another lady blogger has made the link list. Francesca Watson, over at the Yorkie Blog, posts some goodies (some I have linked to in the past), and just recently put a long smack-down on someone who happened to differ in opinion with her. She is not a prolific post-er, but a good writer nonetheless (is that a word?), and would have made the list even if Jenn Gray had not dropped out. Go visit and tell her Spud sez hey!

I also changed the link for Josh Sargent, finding out through rumor about his new site, and hopefully I am spelling his name correctly now. His own domain name - how precious!

Posted by MarcV, 1:05 PM link

NFL Playoff Predictions
Yeah, it's too easy to pick the home teams, but I just do not see it any differently. The Eagles could go to Tampa Bay, the Raiders could go to Memphis, and both would still win. The Bucs offense will not take them far, and the Eagles offense will be enough to overcome a strong Bucs defense. The Raiders are strong on both sides of the ball, especially in the trenches, and the Titans will hit the proverbial brick wall due to injuries and the way they rallied at the end of the season, causing them to run out of gas (no, must not fall for GasBGone joke ... whew, that was close!).

TB vs. PHI: Hard fought first quarter, Eagles make a few breaks for themselves then run away with it in the second half. PHI 30 - TB 10

TEN vs. OAK: Good/lucky breaks for the Titans starting at week 7 finally comes to an end. Titan running game comes off at the wheels, Raiders defense pins its ears back for one dimensional Titan attack and feasts. Raiders break off a few long passes early, then get conservative in the second half and withstand Titan comeback. OAK 24 - TEN 16

Ooooh, almost forgot the Super Bowl prediction: still liking the Eagles, but nobody notices with all of the great commercials (and maybe news announcements breaking into the game of a possible military action!?!).

Posted by MarcV, 1:05 PM link

Take Two
Today's double shot of funnies from the comedian Argus Hamilton:

The Supreme Court is reviewing Michigan's affirmative action policy. It awards twelve points for a perfect SAT but twenty points for being black. The school will right this wrong the day Michigan takes on Ohio State in the Trigonometry Bowl.

CBS News said Russia offered Saddam Hussein sanctuary if he wants to leave Iraq to avoid being overthrown in a war. It's his last chance to get away scot-free. Illinois Governor George Ryan left office Monday without returning his call.

Posted by MarcV, 9:22 AM link

For you folks who like to upgrade your computer, or maybe just build one from scratch, the Totally Drivers site is an excellent resource for finding drivers on just about any component in your computer. Check it out if you are in need of a driver, or want to check if you have the latest update.

Posted by MarcV, 9:21 AM link

Yo Joe
Reckon it's time for a Beautiful Joe the new pooch update. He has done better than expected, with no known "accidents" in the house. He did briefly piddle on a chair leg, probably as a territory-marking thing. He has also slightly chewed on a the end of a small rocker leg, as well as assorted toys that he could find and bite. Otherwise, it will be a slow process getting him to the point of behaving, as he grows out of his puppy phase and we continue to train in him in the way he should go (the same goes for Josh too!).

Posted by MarcV, 9:20 AM link

January 16, 2003

Take Two
Today's double shot of funnies from the comedian Argus Hamilton:

Joe Lieberman announced he's running for president Monday and went on a book tour. He touts his average looks, his humble upbringing, and his plain middle class values. He's pitching a reality TV show to the Fox Network called Joe Thousandaire.

The American Music Awards drew the lowest TV ratings in thirty years Monday night on ABC. It was a complete disaster. The emcees used obscene language, the winners didn't show up, and the where-are-they-now segment featured Pete Townshend.

Posted by MarcV, 8:52 AM link

Civilized Flatulence
To post or not to post, that is the question ... At the risk of dragging the tater bed down any further, there was an article at FoxNews that piqued my "scientific curiosity". Since I have previously posted on technical issues, ah what the heck.

The article was about the GasBGon flatulence filter - a technological breakthrough designed to alleviate the suffering of many. It's basically an activated carbon cushion/seatpad that "filter(s) out both malodorous smells and head-turning noises." I can see how people with medical conditions that are afflicted with a flatulence emission problem could benefit from one of these.

Other folks are becoming converts:

Richard Cowles, a maintenance engineer in South Carolina, said he bought his GasBGon as a joke, but became a believer and now keeps one at his office and at home. Cowles said his co-workers laughed when they first heard about the cushion, but "now about five guys here have their own."

Oh, why didn't we know about this during the Christmas shopping season! I guess it could be a Valentine's gift for that special someone.

Cushions can take about 450 toots before they need a filter change, and come in several fashion patterns with names like "The Musical Solo" and "Silent But Deadly."

All right, let's hold it right here! Who counts "toots", and how do you factor the man-size "rips" vs. the ladies "poots"? Raise your hands, anyone want to volunteer their estimate on average "toots/day"? If you're embarrassed to carry around a seatpad, they are testing an idea for gas-filtering underpants, for those who flatulate on the fly. Visit their website if you dare.

Posted by MarcV, 8:51 AM link

January 15, 2003

Just a Coin
I have not linked a Larry Miller article in the last few weeks, what with the holidays and all. He has posted a few, and they were OK. He posted one on Monday, and this is exceptional. He is an excellent writer, and when he gets his hands around a good one, it's a beautiful thing.

He starts by describing a planned trip to Lego Land, and notes something that really hits "home" to me:

I should probably say here that I didn't want to go in the first place, and that's because I never want to go anywhere in the first place. Like most family men, I firmly--no, rigidly--believe that ever leaving your home voluntarily is an act of galloping stupidity. If I have time off, I'd actually like to lounge around my own bed in my own room, pour juice from my own fridge--you get the idea.

The thrust of his article involves a chance meeting with a fan, and the coin he gives to Mr. Miller. Every once in awhile we arrive at significant/memorable moments in our lives, and his article eloquently describes one of them. Careful if you're reading the article at the office. Out-loud chuckling may signal to others that you are possibly being non-productive.

Posted by MarcV, 3:36 PM link

Take Two
Today's double shot of funnies from the comedian Argus Hamilton:

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill ripped the White House stimulus plan on Monday. What an ingrate. If not for President Bush forcing him to sell all his stocks two years ago in order to join the cabinet, he would have lost a fortune.

Republican U.S. senators ripped into White House Chief of Staff Andy Card last week. They don't like being kept in the dark on foreign policy. The senators were assured that the situation between East Korea and West Korea is fully under control..

Posted by MarcV, 9:40 AM link

Windy City II
Caught the second part of the PBS special on Chicago last night. It was fairly well done, but this time I succumbed to dozing. I did catch a few parts, though, before my eyes rested.

The first show was dedicated more to the entrepreneurs and risk-takers who helped build the city. The second show centered on the consolidation of management power. Companies like Swift either bought out or squashed the smaller competitors. To cut costs, they ended up increasing output and decreasing wages at the same time (nice trick if you can do it).

Swift got to the point of eliminating competition by selling below cost. A dressed steer that cost him $45 would be sold at $35. He was able to recoup his costs by processing and selling the parts that ordinarily were thrown out, such as hair, bones, tongues, hooves, etc. A good portion of the program dealt with the effects of worker's reaction to being told to work harder for less money.

I was sufficiently conscious in time to see the report on the 1933 World's Fair. What a spectacle that must have been on the lake front! The exhibits and attractions from there formed the "foundation" of what would be the Museum of Science and Industry. This was my favorite field trip for the school year back in my "ute". It was the ultimate place for hyper, pre-Ritalin kids (not that I was one!) to run around and push buttons to their hearts content. Josh should be ready for it the next time we travel there.

It was described as "... a new type of American museum - where visitors could interact with the exhibits, not just view displays and artifacts. In 1933, the Museum of Science and Industry opened to the public, at the same time as the Century of Progress Exposition." I have so many memories of the place that it's difficult to post on it. If you're visiting Chicago, set aside a few hours (at least) to explore there, particularly if you have curious youngsters. It is not cheap, $9 for adults $5 for kids, but unless it has drastically changed, from what I remember "hmm" years ago, it should be worth the price.

Then, if you have the time, further on up Lake Shore Dr., bunched together are three other excellent museums, the Field Museum (natural history), the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Plantarium. I don't know if they still display them, but the highlight of a trip to the Field Museum was finding authentic shrunken heads. They make quite an impression on an 8 year old. Finally, if you are planning to visit all of these museums (as well as the Art Institute and the Hancock Observatory Platform), CityPass can save you quite a bit on entrance fees (as well as waiting in line for tickets at each museum). It's about the same price as you would pay to get into a major theme/amusement park, but much more edifying. Be sure to make a slight bow of your head as you pass by (under construction) Soldier's Field.

Posted by MarcV, 9:39 AM link

January 14, 2003

Anti-Americanism Repudiated
Victor Davis Hanson visited some friends over at OpinionJournal and left something there. I just caught it at the end of the day yesterday, and I'm just now getting a chance to review it.

He gives a thorough analysis of the reaction by "celebrities" and other liberals to bash the current Administration's effort for the War on Terrorism.

... adherents of postmodernist relativism assess morality instead by the sole criterion of power: Those without it deserve the ethical high ground by virtue of their very status as underdogs; those with it, at least if they are Westerners, and especially if they are Americans, are ipso facto oppressors.

So it's an underdog thing! He continues his slapdown of "utopians" who holler for a better country, criticizing without offering alternatives (besides NO WAR!). It's a lengthy article, but a good one, just in time for the Sheryl Crows of the world.

Posted by MarcV, 4:39 PM link

Jeffrey Collins over at JoyfulChristian enriches the HTML language with his code for slapping one's forehead in disbelief, this time over Sheryl Crow's anti-war blatherings (and t-shirt). She's right purty, and she sure can sang, but politically astute? Nope. I almost wish I had seen it live, almost, rather than learning about the history of Chicago (see post below on Windy City). I can see a day, probably coming soon, where you can somehow time an audio clip with the post, and actually hear the sound of a hand slapping a forehead, as well as the customary "DOH!" afterwards.
[Update: ScrappleFace has weighed in on this gripping subject as well.]

Posted by MarcV, 9:27 AM link

Take Two
Today's double shot of funnies from the comedian Argus Hamilton:

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle held a press conference last Tuesday and announced that he will not run for president. He said his true passion is what goes on in the Senate. That evening, his wife came to bed dressed as a wheat subsidy.

Pope John Paul II was asked by French chefs to remove gluttony from the list of the seven deadly sins. It seems so unnecessary. After collaborating with the Nazis and encouraging Jerry Lewis, if Frenchmen go to hell it won't be over cream sauce [and let's not get into their treatment of Jews recently ...].

Posted by MarcV, 9:04 AM link

Windy City
Caught the first part of the PBS special on Chicago last night (part 2 tonight). It was fairly well done, and kept my interest the whole time without dozing. You could see the affect that Ken Burns has had on making these type of historical programs, using different people to "voice over" descriptions, use of re-enactments, etc.

Chicago was also one of the first modern "hub" cities, particularly as rail service expanded westward. What started out as a settlement in the 1830's of about 4000 in a prairie bog converted to a harbor, grew in ten years to a city of 300,000 people involved in manufacturing and distribution. Nearly all of the distributed lumber used to build prairie towns in the 19th century went through Chicago.

Towards the end of the program they gave a good rundown of the great fire of 1871, how it spread and the factors that caused it to be such a widespread tragedy. Overnight, 100,000 people were left homeless, with over 25,000 acres of buildings destroyed. They never really gave an estimate of deaths, but it could have been at least 500. It was probably difficult to count due to the number of immigrants streaming into the city, as well as the lack of accurate records. The intensity of the fire, along with the prairie winds, caused mini-tornados of flames that could take a roof off of a house and deposit it a quarter of a mile away.

You could also get a good feel on why Chicago is such a sports-nut town. People living there are descended from the laborers who dug a 100 mile canal by hand, tunneled 30 feet under Lake Michigan for three miles in order to bring fresh water to the city, and worked in the slaughterhouses where 150 men in a processing line could take a live hog and have it slaughtered and butchered in fifteen minutes. These kind of people would like hard-hitting, win-at-any-cost sports teams. Civilization has crept in though, which could explain why the Cubs haven't won a championship in about a hundred years!

Part 2 tonight will take the city's "rebirth" after the great fire, and explore the riots caused by workers clashing with management. I'm curious to see how Chicago grew in about sixty years after the fire, to the city where my grandfather opened a barbershop (near 24th and Western) and lived the rest of his days. He kept a room open in the back for gangsters to play cards, and "loaned" them haircuts so they could at least look good, even if they didn't have two nickels in their pocket to rub together during the Great Depression.

Posted by MarcV, 9:03 AM link

January 13, 2003

Playoff Wrap-ups Second Weekend
Now who was it that picked 4 out of 4 right - could it be that Spud in the Tater bed? Not that it was too difficult, just going the "homey" route, but the only close one was PIT vs. TEN. Saturday afternoon was a pleasant time of NFL anticipation, as the eight best teams would be butting heads on what I hoped would be the best weekend of the season. Sadly, there was only one good game out of the bunch, although I was able to "doze" on the second half of the Philly game (I tell my wife I'm resting my eyes, but the snoring gives me away!), and we watched tape #3 of "Return to Lonesome Dove" on the second half of the Bucs blowout.

For the Steeler fans, I feel your pain, kinda. The Titans did come out with "eye of the tiger" in the first quarter, so considering how banged up the Steelers were, they did quite well to tie the game. I picked the Titans by 14, and they were after the 1st quarter. Playing catch-up to the Titans all day was not part of Cowher's game plan. Losing All-Pro LB Bell hurt the Steelers, and in the end it was too little too late. It was a great game of punch - counterpunch, though.

I predicted that the Falcons would be greeted by a buzzsaw in Philly, and that's just what hit them. McNabb looked good, and the Philly defense kept the Atlanta offense out of the end zone. Atlanta's turnovers and penalties kept their score below 10, so the prediction of Philly by 17 (20 to 6 final score) was just off by 3.

I'm not sure if it was Brad Johnson playing way above his head, or if the 49er defense played way below their potential, but what should have been a close game turned out to be a rout. The 49er no-huddle on Sunday did not turn out well, either.

Finally, the guys in black and silver at Oakland turned it up a notch, and the Jets squeezed all they could, but the tank finally hit empty. By the second half, the Raiders controlled the trenches, and not even golden-boy Pennington could rescue the lads from New JerseyYork.

SNEAK PREVIEW: I was not impressed by the Titans, and the Bucs will return to cold weather misery.

Posted by MarcV, 10:59 AM link

Take Two
Today's double shot of funnies from the comedian Argus Hamilton:

Canada demanded Hillary Clinton apologize for speculating Canada had terror cells that sneaked five operatives over the border. Canada and Hillary shouldn't be fighting. Someone could get hurt and neither one has a decent health care plan [and both are victims of a vast right-wing conspiracy].

The Navy dropped Puerto Rico as a practice bombing site and will bomb target ranges in South Carolina and Florida instead. They're logical choices. Florida looks the most like the Korean peninsula and South Carolina still hasn't surrendered [as the cry goes out, "Remember Fort Sumter!"].

Posted by MarcV, 8:20 AM link

Right Man at the Right Time
A. Lincoln - Melancholy Man
I have been reading Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President by Allen Guelzo, described as "A unique "intellectual biography" of America's most celebrated president." I wanted to try and get a handle on the religious background of Lincoln, what made him tick, and how he was able to insert "faith" into his public speeches.

Instead of a tower of Christian strength, Lincoln turned out to be a secular near-infidel. He was brought up in a strict Calvinist predestination environment, yet he did not feel himself worthy to be part of the "elect". He spent the rest of his life searching for a faith that he could accept and embrace, but supposedly never found it. He could grasp and accept the concept of a Supreme Creator and His Providence, just not a personal relationship with Jesus.

He was very familiar with Scripture, and probably studied it as much the same way he would study an important legal text or book of philosophy. He also liked to keep people guessing on his intent, making it easier to change a course of action if needed. I'm not saying he was wishy-washy, just politically astute.

Other things in his life that affected him negatively included: birth mother dieing early (father remarried and Abe had a good relationship with her), poor relationship with father (could explain his reluctance for a relationship with the Heavenly Father), married for political gain, had a son die early (age 2?). He didn't seem to allow anyone to get close to him. He was a very hard worker and scrupulously moral. He told jokes and humorous anecdotes, but I never got a sense that he had much joy in his life.

After reading through his life story up to his election as President, I'm still not sure what drove him to accept the nomination. He could have spent the rest of his life being a political "boss" of his area, riding the circuit as a trial lawyer (where he said he found a great sense of accomplishment, and he was good at it too). As best I can tell, his "drive" for the Presidency was equal parts sense of duty and obligation to "Providence", or his fate.

Lincoln was strongly opposed to the Democratic vision of entitled land owners managing the government. He was initially ambivalent on slavery, but felt that it would eventually have to wither away and die if a market-based economy was to flourish. In particular, he was opposed to the spread of slavery into the new western states and saw the Democrats encouraging slavery. Raised in a family of struggling dirt farmers, he had grown up as an "indentured" farm laborer. He was self-taught, a voracious reader and hungry for learning as much as he could. He took on work that he learned on-the-job. This included surveyor, lawyer and President (he did not have any significant executive/leadership positions prior to his election).

All of this made him the right man for such a time as 1860. A "religious" leader would have been manipulated by the abolitionists and too far from the center. A "common man" leader could reach out to the emerging middle class and possibly the men in the South who were not plantation owners. His law experience gave him the legal background to justify some of the steps he took, by declaring the country in a state of war and exercising extraordinary executive power. Finally, his strong moral foundation enabled him to make the right decisions and stick with them. Some of my Southern friends might not agree with the outcome, or how Lincoln prosecuted this war, but a divided country and the continuation of slavery would have made this a much different and weaker country than what we are blessed with now.

George W. Bush - Not So Melancholy
The story is still being written for our current President. He also seems to be the kind of man who feels a sense of duty. Unlike Lincoln, Pres. Bush is born-again and has accepted Jesus as his Savior, has a strong and loving family, and has extensive executive experience.

Others may disagree, but I think he has been the right man for the job so far. Besides being the anti-Clinton, he has done well to stay towards the center yet keep the "far-right" on-board. I am looking forward to seeing how he guides this country through the upcoming battles, with tax/economic policy as well as Iraq.

Posted by MarcV, 8:19 AM link

January 10, 2003

That Korean Problem
Victor Davis Hanson posts them, and I link them. Today he has an excellent analysis of how we should approach the North Korea crisis. I wish I had more time to comment on this post, because he give great explanations on his preferred course of action. I just found out about it through a post at NRO, and not by their usual link on the right-hand side box showing the most recent articles. Don't think they have updated that box since yesterday.

Posted by MarcV, 4:02 PM link

One of my daily stops has come to a dead end. Jenn over at Girl on the Right has decided to get off the blog bandwagon because of personal matters. I enjoyed her posts and the pictures that she would update daily. I hope she doesn't mind if I use the "two pictures to the side" set-up if and when I lay down the big bucks and get the ability to publish images. I pray that God will continue to bless her as she turns another page in the book of her life.

Posted by MarcV, 9:40 AM link

NFL Playoff Predictions
I'm tempted not to give predictions and leave my post-season record at .750, but how much fun would that be? Vegas is picking all the home teams by at least 4 points, and it is difficult to see an upset in this bunch. Each visiting team brings in weaknesses that the home teams will exploit. Yeah, the Jets seem to be a fairly balanced and strong team, I'm just not a believer (yet).

San Francisco vs. Tampa Bay
I'm trying not to let my dislike for the Bucs influence this pick, but it ain't easy. The "X" factor will be the health of QB Rob Johnson after he has taken a few hits. If he can get back to game speed and be effective, then the Bucs should come out on top (as much as it pains me to say!) in a low scoring game. TB 16 - SF 10

Atlanta vs. Philadelphia
There is still a little sore spot from a year ago, when the Eagles put a smack down on my beloved Bears, but Philly is still the team to beat in the NFC. The Falcons may have had it too easy against a banged-up Packer squad, and will come into Philly and get mown down by a buzzsaw. The last time a No. 6 seed beat a top seed in a conference playoff game was in 1990.
PHI 31 - ATL 14

Pittsburgh vs. Tennessee
Sorry Steeler fans, the Titans have the eye of the tiger, and will stomp on Pittsburgh without mercy (and if I'm wrong may Kevin berate my lack of football smarts!). TEN 24 - PIT 10

NY Jets vs. Oakland
Toughest game to pick, but again, the Raiders are the team to beat in the AFC. The Jets did not run out of gas against a bumbling Colts squad, but the tank is getting low. They will be coming into Oakland with a big chip on their shoulders, but the Raiders running game will be too much to handle. Pennington will get his baptism by fire, but should be ready next year to contend for the championship. OAK 17 - NYJ 13

I'm still going with Oakland - Philadelphia for the Super Bowl, but Tennessee could sneak in there depending on how well they do against Pittsburgh. Picking all home teams - now who else would do something like that?

Posted by MarcV, 8:48 AM link

Take Two
Today's double shot of funnies from the comedian Argus Hamilton:

U.N. inspectors in Iraq said Tuesday they have been totally unable to find any evidence of weapons of mass destruction. They're not cut out for this kind of work. Normally, they spend five minutes searching and then they buy a new golf ball.

Spokane prosecutors charged two women Monday with growing marijuana in five houses in the suburbs. Their bank teller called the police and said their cash smelled like pot. Not only that, Benjamin Franklin's baseball cap was on backwards.

Posted by MarcV, 8:45 AM link

January 09, 2003

Take Two
Today's double shot of funnies from the comedian Argus Hamilton:

The NFL apologized to the New York Giants for missing a call on a field goal try to end Sunday's game. The referee completely blew it. The next day, Hillary Clinton did all she could to extend his unemployment benefits another thirteen weeks.

House Republicans softened their ethics rules Tuesday. Now they can receive free travel from charities and free food from lobbyists. There's just no end to the number of Americans who want to tell Congress to either get lost or get stuffed.

Posted by MarcV, 10:12 AM link

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